The thief card. Tarot imagery for this card is, in general, one of an act of theft. In the Rider Waite Smith deck a man tip toes away to the left while looking over his shoulder to the right. He's stolen 5 swords leaving only 2 behind, but why didn't he take them all?
The numerology in this imagery is very important and of note. The 7 of Swords is related to the 5 of Swords. In the 5 of Swords our character has achieved his goal through force and direct confrontation. Here in the 7 of Swords the character has used stealth and cunning to achieve the same ends. The remaining 2 swords, that he has turned his back on, represent diplomacy and negotiation. He could have asked for the swords, and been honest about his intentions, but he has chosen to turn his back on that option.
Is he smarter than the character in the 5 of Swords? He's avoided the bad publicity of the 5 of Swords open conflict. He would probably argue that his actions hurt no one, he's kept face and not lost friends.
Sometimes it's important to take note of the direction a character is facing when looking at symbolic imagery. In the RWS Deck this character is heading left but looking right. In the 5 of Swords our character looks left. The left represents the past and the right, the future. Our thief is looking to the future but he's heading backwards. He thinks he's being clever but his actions will set him back.The 7 of Swords is a card of theft, greed, deceit and avoiding confrontation. The element here is Air which relates to challenges, conflicts and the mental aspects of our lives. In Numerology the negative aspects of the number 7 are malice, theft, cheating, craftiness, confusion and deceitfulness. The positive aspects of 7 are rest, introspection, thoughtfulness and planning.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
A man in the act of carrying away five swords rapidly; the two others of the card remain stuck in the ground. A camp is close at hand. Divinatory Meanings: Design, attempt, wish, hope, confidence; also quarrelling, a plan that may fail, annoyance. The design is uncertain in its import, because the significations are widely at variance with each other. Reversed: Good advice, counsel, instruction, slander, babbling.